Did you know trees can talk?

Bird Droppings July 22, 2013
Did you know trees can talk?

“Did you know that trees talk? Well they do. They talk to each other, and they’ll talk if you listen. Trouble is, white people don’t listen. They never learned to listen to the Indians so I don’t suppose they’ll listen to other voices in nature. Tatanga Mani, Stoney tribe

Most people would laugh at the comment trees can talk. I thought it was a bit odd as I first read the quote from Tatanga Mani or Walking Buffalo a Stoney Indian from Canada who after being educated in the modern world never gave up his reverence and respect for nature. A friend posted a note like in Lord of the Rings which is what I thought of as I read this quote earlier today. I have been by the cottonwoods beside the Indian cemetery at Fort Sill and stood looking across the plains listening. The rustling of the cottonwoods along the creek can provide a sense of communication unlike anything I can describe. It has been a few years since I was last at Fort Sill in Lawton Oklahoma but the memory lingers. This morning I went out before the sun came up and stood listening to the night. Pine needles create a sound unlike the leaves of many deciduous trees. Fading in the background the crickets and tree frogs chirped along keeping time with the slight breeze.

“For the Lakota, mountains, lakes, rivers, springs, valleys, and the woods were all in finished beauty. Winds, rain, snow, sunshine, day, night, and change of seasons were endlessly fascinating. Birds, insects, and animals filled the world with knowledge that defied the comprehension of man.” Chief Luther Standing Bear

While I sit I am listening my mind seems to be at ease and trouble seems to simply wander off. Around me the sounds of nature and when the sunlight finally makes its way through the dark the awareness of all around me. Butterflies and flowers are all about me and each has a specific purpose and each often occupying and living a very delicate balance in our hectic world. Many people give no mind to a butterfly that only survives with a specific host plant much like the Monarch that only feeds only milkweed and related species. The Monarch also needs a very select forest to winter in as part of its natural cycle. In Mexico timbering is wiping out the winter resting spot for northern Monarchs and soon we may see a decline in Monarch populations.

“Everything was possessed of personality, only differing from us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature learns, and that was to feel beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensify human futility, so whatever came we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint.” Chief Luther Standing Bear

I have many times written about the sacredness of life and all about us. Perhaps in greed we lose this sense of nature. Over the past few years I have learned to be more revenant to the world around me and in turn to people as well. I spent a large part of yesterday talking with a friend about how I see all as a puzzle a great jigsaw puzzle with each piece interconnected to all the others to form a picture of life. Some people hear my puzzle analogy and do not understand. It has been some time since listening to a great speaker Dr. Norman Vincent Peale talk about how we each influence at least ten people every day. He was referring to the fact that positively or negatively every person we come in contact with is impacted by what we do. The example we set is what is seen and carried away. Life is a constant interconnection of people, places, things and ideas.

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator

It has been sometimes since walking across the fields near my old home I could hear the buffalo snort and paw the ground agitated by my prescience and letting me know I must move on. Many the times as a child I caught fireflies and filled a mason jar to light my bedroom at night with their glow. There is a point of understanding and reverence that we lose in our greed and selfishness. We tend to rush by and miss so much the world has to offer. I am sitting, writing, listening and wondering as I finish today. My dear friends please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

For all my relations
Wa de (Skee)
bird

Is it a paradox that sometimes small can be big?

Bird Droppings July 22, 2013
Is it a paradox that sometimes small can be big?

“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” Laura Ingalls Wilder

It seems like yesterday that I was looking at some power point slides as we waited between committee meetings at Piedmont College. It was my Capstone presentation for my Master’s Degree and it was the culmination of nearly two years of studies. As I looked at the slides one set of slides was of my son’s old ten gallon aquarium, a nano reef, which is a mini reef ecosystem for those less verbally aware. The object is you can have a beautiful salt water aquarium in a small space with smaller creatures. The up keep is actually significantly more than a larger tank because there is no margin of error in a small tank, but when you start looking at these tiny almost insignificant creatures they become breathtaking. In the space of ten milk cartons an entire world exists from a two and a half inch pistol shrimp that lives in a burrow with a three inch blenny a small fish to numerous corals and anemones. Interesting the blenny is very wary and the shrimp is blind, when trouble was coming the blenny pulls the shrimp back in the hole and when a tasty morsel is coming the fish encourages the powerful shrimp to grab it. Life in that tiny burrow is about two tiny creatures working together.
Last year a few days before school was out one of the teachers brought in a tiny green tree frog they had caught we arranged a little cage for observation. Over the years I have found the world close up can be more fascinating the great big world we live in. So often pieces are revealed that may otherwise go unseen and life takes on a different aspect and perspective. Over the weekend in the mornings as I walked about the house the dew was so heavy from the humidity that all of the spider webs were very visible. I ended up taking photos of several with tiny dew drops hanging on each nearly invisible thread.

“Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it creative observation or creative viewing.” William S. Burroughs

So often we miss the small pieces always intent on seeing the big and little bits of life will pass us by. I recall watching my son’s nano reef explode when he would drop in a feeding solution of microscopic particles of plankton and algae it was amazing. I do not even see what the tiny corals anemones and polyps can sense in the water. When they are closed up and appearing dead the animals open into beautiful living things seeking their prey when a food source is available. Nearly eleven years ago I was handed a small piece of paper with my name on it written in blue ink and the word in capital letters PASS, written on it as well. That tiny note was the closure to two years of study and a door to another journey as my graduate school continued to unfold. So amazing a small piece of white copy paper can be so significant, for ten years now it has been in a frame in my classroom as a reminder. Please keep all in harm’s way on you mind and in your hearts and be sure to always give thanks namaste.

For my relations
Wa de (Skee)
bird

Why is it so hard listening to a child?

Bird Droppings July 21, 2013
Why is it so hard listening to a child?

It has been some time since I was sitting in my class room when a friend came by with her baby brother about six weeks old at the time. There is something about newborns that is so special as she left another group of folks came by and with this group a small child maybe five or six with them. Looking into my room he saw my snakes moving and said he was afraid of snakes, but curiosity soon came over him and he came inside the door as did his mother and sister. The little boy’s mother was drawn to a feather on my desk and soon an hour long discussion ensued.
The interesting part and for me intriguing was each few minutes the little boy would ask a question. I answered many but soon he was interrupting my talk on Native Americans and feathers and I was trying to avoid his questions as I do like to talk. Today as I sit writing listening to Carlos Nakai and watching the sun come up listening to the sounds of the incoming morning it hit me how often we turn our ears away from children when it is them who we should be listening to.

“Head and heart listening requires that we attend to more than mere words. To understand the full meaning of what a child is saying to us, we have to “listen” to tone, inflection, feelings, and body language. By truly listening, we are saying to our children: ‘You are a person of worth. I love you, respect you, and want to understand you.’ Unfortunately, we are often so eager to get our own point across that we interrupt our children with our own ideas and don’t pay enough attention to their thoughts and feelings.” Stephen F. Duncan, Professor, School of Family Life, Brigham Young University

Who and where do we find answers from, I think more often than not from children. We tend to know what is right to do, to learn, to teach and we do it but as I listened to this child a few days ago filled with questions I was too busy to answer and sadly we do this every day. My mother called me a few hours ago and we were talking about my little nephew. He occasionally talks to pop-pop, my father who passed away a little over a five years ago. He really never knew him as he is only about six years old. We so often put aside little children questions, thoughts and dreams and leave them with little more than our own.

“What does education often do? It makes a straight-cut ditch of a free, meandering brook.” Henry David Thoreau

Yesterday as I finished my day I sat and was thinking about various forms of curriculum and education and as I was reading and jotting notes this Thoreau passage came back. So often we want to simply make everyone like us. Embrace the questions; listen to the words, the thoughts, and emotions. Borrowing from a line I used the other day let us approach education One Child at a Time. We can learn so much from children. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to always give thanks namaste.

For all my relations
Wa de (Skee)
bird

Let us change NCLB to OCAT today!

Bird Droppings July 19, 2013
Let us change NCLB to OCAT today!

I woke up like most other days and as you get older each day is a prize and for some reason sat at my computer pondering much longer than normal. I was looking at some comments and reviewing a post I had made the day before and thinking about what direction to go. I have two dissertations to review and I started reading William Ayers book, To Teach again and found it very similar to Dewey and other educators that I enjoy reading. As I looked at a blurb from GAE Georgia Association of Educators nearly three years ago denouncing the plan to go ahead with submission to Federal Department of Education grants stimulus award program since educators were not involved I was a bit concerned. Georgia went literally county by county on Race to the Top and is possibly still going to lose a portion related to evaluating teachers of the stimulus. I agree with that idea of involvement but the key component GAE was upset about is that it would require teachers to be more accountable and that accountability to be more thoroughly evaluated a point even though actively involved with GAE I disagree with we need to be accountable. (I am not saying through test scores)
Currently in Georgia teachers have either, one or up to three twenty minute walk through’ s by administrators as their evaluations and that is primarily a state produced checklist of things to be looked for. It impacts your yearly evaluation and whether or not you will be asked back the next year. But it does not impact pay. Teacher pay in Georgia is based on years of experience and degrees. The longer you teach the more you get paid and the higher your degree the more you get paid. If you are a coach now in our county counts equal with experience which while a supporter of sports Academics should be number one. A problem is that a teacher with thirty five or forty years that have not been good can pass all of their entire career walk through’ s and always have great annual evaluations and be one of highest paid in the school and have never been successful as a teacher. Their students may not be succeeding in life but that is not a reference point.

“Learning to teach takes time, energy, hard work. Learning to teach well requires even more: a serious and sustained engagement with the enterprise, an intense focus on the lives of children, a passionate regard for the future – that is, for the community our students will inherit and reinvent and for the world they are arching for.” Dr. William Ayers

I started an idea the other day which may seem redundant and silly. Instead of No Child Left Behind, let us approach education as One Child at a time. The more I thought about this idea and read does it not make more sense to approach each child as an individual rather than as a group or score or where they lie on the bell shaped curve. Granted it will take a bit more work to get to know each kid to know why and how each student works and understands but in the end I truly believe it will accomplish so much more and provide us with a future of thinkers instead of simply a society of consumers.

“Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die.” John Taylor Gatto

John Taylor Gatto is another outspoken educator trying to alter a system that has been struggling within itself for so long. John Dewey had it right a hundred years ago and it is still considered progressive education. Give your main customer a say so in the education of themselves. Have a democratic classroom. Amazing how quickly people and teachers go quiet when that suggestion comes up. A favorite actor of mine during his lifetime came into acting when most folks are retiring. Chief Dan George began his career opposite Dustin Hoffman in 1970 at seventy one years of age in the movie, Little Big Man. One of my favorite films and his portrayal was that of outlaw Josey Wales side kick in the movie of the same name. He had a famous line as he told the story of the civilized tribes going to Washington and being told by the president to endeavor to persevere.

“But in the long hundred years since the white man came, I have seen my freedom disappear like the salmon going mysteriously out to sea. The white man’s strange customs which I could not understand pressed down upon me until I could no longer breathe.” Chief Dan George

Today in education and in life the struggle of the winners dictating the outcomes in whatever arena we put before us is still true. Whichever party is in control will pass legislation be it for people or against, with the people having little say. In education seldom are teachers involved in educational decisions or even in the thinking process involved. More importantly we never include the students and it is those students who we impose choices determined by people in almost another world that make the process of education so overwhelming. I have been writing for years about the loss of soul in education and this is not in reference to religion but to the individuality of the children. We strip away in the early grades inspiration and creativity and soon only the motions of learning are occurring. We are teaching to the test. Cramming the information needed in the space provided.

“Can we talk of integration until there is integration of hearts and minds? Unless you have this, you have only a physical prescience, and the walls between us are as high as the mountain range.” Chief Dan George

It is about an integration of hearts and minds that is needed in education. The walls are getting higher as I write and one day soon it may be insurmountable. I am hoping enough people choose to look differently at how we educate children and begin to realize we need to address the soul and each child as well. So sitting here pondering away I close as I have for thirteen years please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and let us give thanks for all we have namaste.

For my relations
Wa de (Skee)
bird

Is doing what you love really work?

Bird Droppings July 18, 2013
Is doing what you love really work?

“To love what you do and feel that it matters, how could anything be more fun?” Katharine Graham

After thirty plus days of rain yesterday a sunrise and no clouds or fog cover. That made for a great start to my day. I learn something every day as I wander about the internet and as I do find books I along the way. My life’s journey the past thirteen years has been one of excitement and constant challenges. Back when I closed my business of twenty three years and left publishing I first tried to stay in that industry but very few companies hire older folks in sales. I had been away from production far too long and computers had replaced most of what I had done when I started out doing graphics by hand. I had been talking with our new graphics teacher at school and literally the graphics industry is now almost totally on the screen in front of you. No more film negatives and paper paste ups. My world of nearly a quarter of a century was gone. Today I read a short article on the last of the Bo tribe to pass on. An elderly woman eighty five was the last of her tribe who genetically trace back over sixty five thousand years. This small group of hunter gatherers is gone and with them a culture, language, and history that cannot be replaced.
As I read each day and as I find quotes coming back to the starting quote above which is from my father’s book of quotes as he called it. He had saved over the years a three ring binder full of quotes that he had used or was pondering using. This quote caught my attention as it is how I see teaching for me. I love teaching and each day I am working with students I feel it matters maybe not today but one day it definitely will. As I looked up Katharine Graham I found that in her time she was one of the most powerful women in Washington. She was publisher of the Washington Post and it was with her permission the Watergate Scandal was reported and published in the Post. She was on the elite social list in Washington and personal friends with John and Jackie Kennedy, Jimmy and Roselyn Carter, Ronald and Nancy Reagan and she never had to sneak into White House functions which seem to be the fad these days.
As I looked further into her life and very interesting as her husband was for many years CEO and publisher of The Washington Post however it came to be known that he suffered from Manic Depression and after a series of nervous breakdowns and residential psychiatric treatment he took his own life in 1963. Upon her husband’s death Katharine took over the company and through careful planning built it into the company it is today. I found the following quote that hit me as I read further.

“We live in a dirty and dangerous world…There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn’t. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.” Katherine Graham, speaking at the CIA Headquarters in 1988

As I watch our news and media sources banter about half-truths and often totally misleading stories I wonder as to, is their material even in our high speed world that needs to be withheld. So often in apocalyptic movies the president hesitates from telling everyone the earth is in line to be hit by a planet size asteroid and destroyed, or that the sunspots are flaring up and we will be crispy critters soon. Is it better to panic and get crushed in the milieu or simply not know and fry at some point in time? I come back to my original quote and for me it is finding that place in the circle of life that makes sense to you and that you enjoy doing. For me it is teaching. I recall when I was down about not finding work in the publishing world and my wife kept saying go back to teaching you really enjoy that. I was at the right place at the right time. Synchronicity as Karl Jung would say. A very progressive principal had just had a teacher quit due to a nervous breakdown and a job opening was there working with Emotionally Disturbed High School students. Next thing I knew I started back to teaching September 11, 2001.

“I teach because, for me, it’s the most effective and most enjoyable way to change the world. That’s the bottom line: We need to change this world, and this is the way I’m choosing to do it. Teaching allows me to work on hearts and minds, to guide people in becoming empowered, literate, engaged, creative, liberated human beings who want to join in this effort to change the world.” From the blog of Elena Aguilar School Improvement coach from Oakland, California, 2008

I have been over the past six years talking with former students and teachers of the Foxfire Program in Rabun County and in other Foxfire teaching settings around the country. I am finding that so many former students were influenced beyond the academics of the classes. They had each a different story but as I gather the words together each was influenced in a positive manner and each has used what they learned as the go about their journeys in life. I happened to find a site discussing a book based on the idea of why I teach. Each section of the book draws from teachers around the country and their feelings towards teaching.

“As a teacher, I want children to leave school with a social conscience, an appreciation for diversity and life, a thirst for learning, and an understanding of how knowledge can allow them to achieve their dreams. I also want them to leave the classroom with good memories because, since teachers are life-touchers, we want to be a part of children’s childhood memories. Other teachers might not admit this, but I will: Even if I might never get to hear it from their lips, I want my former students to recall their time in my class. I want them to remember something worthwhile, great or small that happened there. I hope that my students will remember my class not because it was perfect, but because of its unique flaws. Hopefully, they also will remember that I was a teacher who truly cared and strived to teach them. This is my definition of a life-toucher.” Kerri Warfield, Visual Arts teacher, Westfield, MA

As an active teacher I hope in my own way I am influencing kids positively so they can better managed the journey ahead. Perhaps my own rationale that it is equally about that life journey as well as academics learned along the way is in contrast to the current teach to the test idea that is driving education now. Sadly it is a long time later that the daily life touches as Kerri Warfield states are seen. It might be ten years after you have a student and you see on Facebook a father holding a little boy or girl and discussing how much something meant to him back in high school. That something just happened to be a small gesture you made giving a book or a word of advice in time of need. So many directions to go today and as I wind down, as always please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to always give thanks for what we do have namaste.

For all my relations
Wa de (Skee)
bird

How do we know on a cloudy day if the moon is setting or the sun is rising?

Bird Droppings July 16, 2013
How do we know on a cloudy day if the moon is setting or the sun is rising?

I left the house relatively early to get gas for my wives car and since staying at home today to work on graduate school papers a bottle of grapefruit cranberry juice. My days have been hectic lately and almost blurry running from one to the next and almost as if in slow motion yet going by faster than I would like. I have much to do and places to go and things to see just don’t know which direction to start in. As I left the house several rabbits and birds either ran or flew across my path as I drove down the dirt road beside our house. As I drove a bit further down the road I noticed the clouds were still obscuring the view of the sky as the sun came up and what might have been the moon going down in the west. No sooner do I try and notice the moon and the sun is coming up. How can this be both events all at once? This was even better than an eclipse. As I took a turn on a back country road a mother opossum began peering at the roadway looking about ready to jump in front of a car. I noticed she was carrying some babies on her back and hopefully she avoided traffic although it was early and I did not see any cars.
Yesterday I stopped by my mother’s house to check in and see what she would like for dinner today. As we talked I remembered another trip when she started pulling out books she wanted to know if I wanted. As she pulled a few books I realized I do not turn down books ever, well almost never and started piling them up. One in particular caught my attention. Touch the Earth by T.C. McLuhan. As I read and recalled from earlier in the day yesterday several postings about changes in our world it started to make sense more so than it had is some time.

‎ “All living creatures and all plants derive their life from the sun. If it were not for the sun, there would be darkness and nothing could grow – the earth would be without life. Yet the sun must have the help of the earth. If the sun alone were to act upon animals and plants, the heat would be so great they would die, but there are clouds that bring rain, and the action of the sun and earth together supply the moisture that is needed for life.” Okute, Teton Sioux, 1911

As it turns out the book was given to my father in 1983 by a friend of his who signed the book as well. T. C. McLuhan edited the stories and gathered them from various Native American warriors, chiefs, holy men and orators. The photos are all from Edward S. Curtis famous black and white photographer and chronicler of the Wild West. T. C. McLuhan is a New York videographer and author with numerous projects to her credit. The Shadow Catcher is a 1975 film based on Edward S. Curtis and his travels from 1893 through 1930 recording on film and tapes the sights and sounds of Native peoples across the country. His concern was the old ways would soon be gone and his effort has recorded many events and happenings found nowhere else in media. T.C. McLuhan’s father is a bit better known in literary circles, Marshall McLuhan was named Patron Saint of Wired magazine in 1991. T. C. McLuhan produced and directed the documentary “The Frontier Gandhi” in 2008. Looking at a book on Native Peoples culture I have found an author and now several films I want to pursue.

“I wonder if the ground has anything to say? I wonder if the ground is listening to what is said? I wonder if the ground would come alive and what is on it? Though I hear what the ground says. The ground says the Great Spirit place me here.” Young Chief, Cayuse, 1855 at an Indian Council in the Valley of the Walla Wall

Yesterday I responded to a blog about how rapidly things were changing and how food stuffs with the dying off of honey bees will be impacted. Over the last few years I can honestly say I have seen fewer and fewer honey bees. I Plant numerous flowers that attract bees and hummingbirds. But each year there are fewer honey bees. This year I have seen maybe a dozen which is better than last year. I wander my gardens most every day during summer looking for photo opportunities and this year no pictures of honey bees so far though my oldest son says he has seen some. As I read through this manuscript and thought about the title touch the earth I thought to the recorded writings based on many of the great Native Peoples leaders both on the battle field and spiritually. All reflect the contact with the earth as a key to their existence. Whether it be sitting on the ground instead of on a chair or standing in moccasins close to the ground instead of thick soled boots or shoes the Native Peoples way is to be one with the earth. I tagged a t-shirt photo I took a year or so ago with the world and some feathers and surrounding the image the words, “This we know all things are connected.”

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, and the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk residing in France who was ejected from his country of Viet Nam for being against the Viet Nam war in the late sixties and early seventies. “All is a miracle” is such a simple statement yet it is what this life is about if we so choose. The miracle is in our own seeing and believing. What a glorious day while cloudy it will still be a great day. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to all give thanks namaste.

For all my relations
Wa de (Skee)
bird

Is not every day a good day?

Bird Droppings July 15, 2013
Is not every day a good day?

Recently I had the great privilege of spending some time with three friends. People I have known for many years. Just a few weekends back I drove nearly 800 miles on various assundery excursions. There were several trips to the North Georgia Mountains for graduate classes, visiting the Foxfire property and along with this a trip or to Athens Georgia. Much of this time I was alone driving and most of that time listening to a CD by the Foxfire Boys, a blue grass band out of Clayton Georgia. .
In my travels many things pass through my mind, ideas for my dissertation and my graduate studies, thoughts back to my meetings with my friends. But in the midst of this all was a passing thought my wife mentioned as I was sitting reading an email from one of my friends. She told me we all have kind hearts. I thought back to conversations we were having as friends a few days back that would have provided her with this insight.

‎”I tell my students that teaching is a lifelong moral quest. You never have it exactly right, and you keep trying to get better at it. You keep learning from your students and what you they’re going through, how you can do things better.” Dr. Nel Noddings, interview with Sara Day Hatton, Teaching By Heart: The Foxfire Interviews

An idea crossed my mind as I was driving. The medicine circle composed of four points of the compass. The points are as on most manmade compasses yet far more in terms of meaning in the medicine circle. The North, symbolizing earth and wisdom, The South, symbolized by fire and passion, The West, symbolized by water and emotions, and the East, symbolized by air and flight are what make the medicine circle meanings. I thought of four friends drawn together yet apart. Each knows of the other and by chance I had words with each recently. Each of my friends had passion in their lives. There was a passion I could see and feel for their work, family and those around them. I even at one point was sitting jotting notes to myself as to who fit each of the points. Who was the north or south, east or west of this medicine wheel? I was reminded of the medicine wheel a few weeks back as a friend used in a morning moment with a group of teachers in the mountains of North Georgia and as I sat by my own medicine circle in a back corner of the yard as the sun came up today and wisps of smoke from some sage, sweet grass, ursa, and willow bark dissipated in the breeze.
So often my train of thought then wanders off and I find myself postulating over other ideas and pondering this or that. I found my way to a book store yesterday. Somehow I can do that probably in my sleep. Someday I might like to have my ashes sprinkled through a Barnes and Noble even though they will get swept up by the nightly cleaning crew or maybe haunt a book store in the afterlife. I went looking as I do to favorite sections only to find they were all shifted about. I finally found the Education rows of books and a bit later the Native American shelves.
As I looked always seemingly drawn to known authors I found a title that intrigued me. The book was Every day is a good day, by Wilma Mankiller. I had not seen this book in all of my travels and searching’s at Borders, Barnes and Noble and many other stores and purchased on line several years ago. It consists of dialogue between nineteen indigenous women on various topics. The book has many powerful words from these women. I borrowed today from the foreword written by Native American author Vine Deloria.

“The old Indian war cry, it’s a good day to die, bespoke of the courage and fearlessness of men in battle and indicated that life was not worth living if one approached it with too much caution. Freedom demanded the willingness to sacrifice everything to ensure personal integrity. But what of the long periods between wars and crises? What about the daily lives we seek to fill with substance?” Vine Deloria

The late Wilma Mankiller nationally known as former chief of the Cherokee Nation and author, teacher, lecturer and advocate for Native American affairs in her book proceeds to explore this through the thoughts and understandings of nineteen indigenous women from all walks of life. In a recent class we discussed the concept of multitasking and how women have been multitasking for thousands of years while men focus on generally one thing at a time. I look at women running for vice president, state governors, congress, Senate and our current Secretary of state in our own country. Wilma Mankiller was chief of the Cherokee nation for ten years until her health took the best of her.

“A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women on the ground. Then it is done, no matter how brave its warriors or strong its weapons.” Cheyenne proverb

My thinking has wandered today from four friends and an observation by my wife to the multitasking ability of women. Yet intertwined is a common thread a piece of the tapestry of our lives. My wife saw a common element in each of us as we talked and joked and retold old tales of childhood. Perhaps we are each part of the medicine wheel of life. A thought crossed my mind as each of my friends in different places we are each leading separate yet connected lives. I thought back to Wilma’s book title and how I was drawn to that Every day is a good day. I thought to multitasking and how so often we take for granted those who truly do keep the world in line and in order. I thought of my wife who so often is the guiding force in our family and always ready to hug someone needing hugging.
Every day is a good day when we accept the premise that we are integral to that day and we each are only a portion of the day and so many more too are there interconnected and interwoven. I do think it is when we get focused too into our own that we lose sight of the good day. I do wish we each could hold all in harm’s way on our minds and in our hearts and to give thanks for all namaste.
For my relations
Wa de (Skee)
bird